Thursday, February 19, 2015

Blog: What This Moment Holds

There are some experiences in life that are difficult to put words to. At times, the words I can find to describe them can only go so far before falling flat. As I describe the freedom I have found and continue to find, no words quite do it. As soon as the words hit the page these days, I find something in me has already grown for having written it. Something of my soul just moved and sees it differently. The hope I hold for my life and the people in it broaden with each moment. This freedom is beautiful. The flexibility to move freely as myself each day is a gift, yet it is not without a cost.

The trouble with freedom in my past is it often came without acknowledging the full breadth of what was true for me. Parts of my experience would always be left abandoned. To experience freedom would be to NOT experience grief. That worked very temporarily. Like caffeine, alcohol, drugs or an inspiring church service. In the end, I was left with a growing chain reminiscent of Jacob Marley. There is no freedom without faith. I'm not talking religious faith. (I can't talk religion without expletives involved.) I'm angry about what so often passes for faith there. I'm not talking about faith in a miraculous healing either... I'm talking about a faith that looks at all of life and bears what cannot be held all at once. I mean a freedom that holds immense loss and intense laughter in the same moment and doesn't leave. The temptation is to hold life like a eulogy where I am careful not to tell the whole story about someone; in my life that someone is me. That's not freedom and it's a way of holding life in a way that requires no faith at all. It's a way of becoming small, succumbing to our own imprisonment. Willfully dying.

To love my life is to hold all of this moment, all at once.

I think part of why I have tended not to do so has to do with this commonly used, yet loosely defined thing I hear called "presence" or "being in the moment." My life is complicated. It's full of a substance I typically lump together and reference as "bullshit." Currently that lump includes a place to live. Next week on Wednesday I'm effectively homeless as far as personal space is concerned. I don't know where I'll be sleeping or staying outside the office. I'd like to know, but nothing feels quite "it." I know better these days than to grab the first thing that comes. Even kind, generous offers from dear friends are met with "thank you" and "I'll let you know when I know." I'm patient. I presumably will not die. I can sleep in my car. I have hundreds if not thousands of friends. I have a great hammock too. Not having a home that's mine isn't what I'd choose, but I trust that there are reasons that I'm in this spot. This is freedom. I hold in one hand my desire for the apartment I need to leave - it's my favorite place I've ever lived yet I know my time there is done) - and in the other I hold hope for what is to come of this unknown.

It took time to feel grounded in the decision to leave. Once the idea of leaving for financial reasons became a reality, I still waited until I could feel that leaving was true to who I need to be in this moment in my life. I don't ignore my brain, but I don't live in it either. I wait for a grounded kind of peace with my decisions. I accept whatever will come. And it will come when it needs to. Some things are difficult, even uncomfortable. For instance, I have no space of my own where I can bring my children when I have them during the week. Even the fact that I can't afford to pay someone to pick them up from school put me in a position where I needed help. The thing is, before I even had a chance to ask, another parent offered to pick them up. And it was still difficult to accept the generosity. I didn't accept without tears... I love people, but I'm not good at needing them. Several dear friends have offered me a place to stay. I realize that I have always loved having people stay over at my place, but it never occurred to me that I might be cherished the same way. That maybe my presence on a friend's floor might be more than an accommodation, but actually something they desire sometimes. In a culture that so easily isolates, I'm in a position to feel my need for others. I'm learning to hold this reality and the vast disparity between what I wish I had and what I actually have. The thing I realize more and more is that my "wishes" for myself are disappearing. I feel the loss of something good while in the midst of the next something good. There is incredible freedom in realizing that I can trust the next moment will be good; that I have no need to hold onto the good of the last moment. I do miss it and carry gratitude for it in my heart, but more and more the past and future are eclipsed by the adventure and freedom of discovering what it means to be me here, in this moment.

There are times in my life where I am meant to desire a home of my own and instead accept the one offered to me. I am meant to be filled, perhaps in each moment, with both longing and gratitude in extremes. In that moment last May when I watched one of my best childhood friends get lowered into the ground, I held it all, maybe for the first time, and have not yet escaped that moment. I love him dearly and I always will AND I feel his loss and I always will. The freedom to hold such grief and gratitude all at once as my heart aches with pain has opened me up to loving people in ways I have never known. It has opened my heart to love and a way of living that has always been in me, true to me. It is so good to simply be me. I am free to trust that I am right where I need to be. Why would I take what I want in this life when what is given to me each moment is more beautiful (in its own, true way) than even my own wild imagination could dream? What does this moment hold for you? Will you hold it? Will you let it open you up and expand until you're fully engaged in its beauty and tragedy that you don't need to control what comes next? I don't know what comes next, but I know it's going to come. Even when what comes fills my soul with incredible loss or something unbelievably good, even then I am free to be in it, to feel it, to engage it. My faith may not be big enough, but it will be. When that moment comes, I will hold it...even if it knocks me on my ass a few times.

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